Unlocked Cars Targeted In Recent Fort Smith Thefts

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)-- 81 car break-ins have been reported in Fort Smith in August alone.

Sgt. Daniel Grubbs with the Fort Smith Police Department said the amount of break-ins that have occurred in August are double what are usually reported in a normal month.

“The alarming fact with a lot of these is that 90 percent of them that we`re taking is there`s no forced entry,” Grubbs said. “It`s basically you have a group of individuals or an individual targeting high-end, upper class type neighborhoods, and basically walking down the road and flipping car handles.”

Winston Turpin Junior lives on Rannoch Lane, an area that's had multiple reports of recent thefts.

He said he has taken the necessary precautions, but still found himself a victim.

'I knew something was wrong, but I didn`t know what, but then I realized my trailer and lawn mower were gone,” Turpin said. “My trailer was locked. I had a lock on it, and they cut the lock off.”

Turpin also said his security lights outside of his home were unscrewed.

“I don`t know what else to do if I haven`t done enough,” Turpin said.

The thieves have stolen everything from a firearm to a lawnmower, and Johnny Poff, who also lives on Rannoch Lane, said he isn’t surprised.

“There is no place that is safe,” Poff said. “This is a great neighborhood. We haven`t lived here long, but great neighbors, very quiet neighborhood, but it doesn`t really surprise me that crime would take place.”

He said he hasn't had anything stolen, and he doesn't feel unsafe, but he said he is extremely careful.

“Does that mean that we`re never going to get robbed,” Poff said. “No, it doesn`t mean that at all. It simply means that we take all the precautions we can.”

However, the thieves aren’t targeting locked cars.

 

Turpin said for now he plans to install more lights outside his home, and Poff said he will continue being overly cautious.

“It`s unfortunate that these things happen, but they do happen, and it`s just part of life,” Poff said. “It just says to all of us that we have to just be careful.”

Grubbs urges anyone with information about the break-ins to contact the Fort Smith Police Department.